Sukkot 2017at Bat Yam with students from Sanibel Congregational UCC Christian pre-School and their teacher Ana Abella.
Welcome to our new Bat Yam Temple of the Islands Page! Here is where you can keep up with the goings-on at Bat Yam and everybody's favorite rabbi, Rabbi Stephen Lewis Fuchs. Each month there will be an update from the temple's newsletter, Bat Yam Matters. But, if there is late-breaking news prior to the next newsletter, you can bet I'll be all over it, and you'll be the first to know -- as long as you check this page periodically!
Let's Go Together!
Join Rabbi Dr. Stephen Fuchs & Rev. Dr. John Danner for an uplifting interfaith experience in Israel! Be part of a curious, open-minded group of intellectual and spiritual seekers as we: Walk in the footsteps of Hebrew Bible patriarchs, prophets and Jesus of Nazareth Reflect at the Western Wall and visit the Kotel Tunnels Visit the Church of the Nativity and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher Visit Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered Descend to the Dead Sea and ascend the heights of Masada Cruise on the Sea of Galilee and visit the Jordan River Learn about life today in Israel Share Shabbat services and a special meal with local host families Worship at Church of the Redeemer and hear about life for Christians in the Holy Land Learn from an Islamic Imam advocating for peace Learn about the modern history of Israel and visit Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum Share many different cuisines reflective of the variety of cultures in Israel. Deepen the unique bond that exists between Sanibel Congregational UCC and Bat Yam
April 29-May 10, 2019 Ten days, nine nights $3070 per person. Based on double occupancy, excluding airfare, based on a minimum of 25 participants. Includes:
Luxury coach travel
Licensed Israeli tour guide
All entrance fees and programming costs
All transfers in Israel
All taxes and fees
A detailed itinerary will be made available at the end of September. Secure your place by sending a $250 deposit per person NOW, marked ISRAEL, to: Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ, 2050 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957 Attn: Sandy Simmons (Deposit fully refundable until November 30, 2018)
Jerusalem, Israel. Courtesy of Dustin Ferrell.
It's That Time Again!
TEMPLE BAT YAM 2018 HIGH HOLIDAY EVENTS SCHEDULE
All High Holiday events except for Selichot and Tashlich will take place in Fellowship Hall of the SCUCC and will be led by Rabbi Stephen Fuchs. Cantor Murray Simon will chant the prayers, accompanied by pianist Abigail Allison.
Saturday, September 1, 7 p.m. - Selichot reflection and discussion at home of Rabbi Stephen and Vickie Fuchs, 1839 Farm Trail, Sanibel.
Please call Vickie Fuchs at 860-305-4876 to inform her of your attendance.
Rosh HaShanah . Sunday, September 9, 7:30 p.m. - ErevRosh HaShanah service – Sermon topic: Do We Enthrone God?
Monday, September 10, 10 a.m. - Rosh HaShanah service – Sermon topic: Abraham’s Vital Lesson That We Have Failed to Learn
Monday, September 10, 1:00 p.m., immediately following the morning service - Tashlichservice and potluck luncheon hosted by Elissa Karasin Samet and Michael Samet in the party room of their condo at 1605 Middle Gulf Drive (RSVP - see box below for details)
Friday, September 14, 7:30 p.m. - Shabbat Shuva service
Yom Kippur Tuesday, September 18, 7:30 p.m. - Kol Nidre service – Sermon topic: A Theology for German Pastors After Auschwitz…and for Us
Wednesday, September 19, 10:00 a.m. - Yom Kippur morning service – Sermon topic: The Holy Days are About Us, Not the Government -- immediately followed by Congregants’ Hour Speakers: Bat Yam Congregants Mel Bleiberg, Edina Lessack, and Allan Sacks will each speak for approximately ten minutes about their journeys to Judaism, what Yom Kippur means to them, and the important influences in their lives. 3:00 p.m. - Service of Music and Meditation featuring cellist Susannah Kelly and pianist Abigail Allison 4:00 p.m. - Afternoon service - Discussion of the Book of Jonah, the Yom Kippur afternoon Haftarah, Immediately followed by Yizkor/Memorial service – Reflection topic: Our Loved Ones Call Out to Us -- and Ne’ilah/Closing service Immediately followed by Break-the-Fast in Heron Hall - 6:00 p.m. (Reservations are required; see the box below for details)
Sunday, September 23, 6:00 p.m. – Erev Sukkot in Sukkah
Monday, October 1, 7:30 p.m. – Simchat Torah service
Reservations for the Break-the-Fast must be made by September 16th. Your check is your reservation. Contact organizers Miriam Bailey at email@example.com or Esta Berger at firstname.lastname@example.org. The price is $20 per person for members, $25 per person for non-members.)
RSVP to Elissa Karasin Samet if you plan to attend the Tashlich service and the potluck luncheon following the brief service. Contact her to tell her you will attend and what food you will contribute at 239-239-1250 or email@example.com.
There will be bins outside of the SCUCC Church at every High Holiday service for donations for the joint Bat Yam and SCUCC Paper Goods Drive to benefit FISH. (Friends in Service Here). Please support this paper drive (toilet paper, paper towels, diapers, etc.) for a worthy Sanibel island organization.
We Look Forward to Seeing You!
We Gotta Say Goodbye for the Summer...
And we will miss you! Until next time, below are a few parting shots from Rabbi Fuchs' last Shabbat service at Bat Yam Temple for the season.
Cantor Simon and Rabbi Fuchs
Rabbi Fuchs blessing Judith and
Howard Mayer in celebration of their 65th wedding anniversary.
Have a wonderful and safe summer. We'll see you in the fall!
Book Launch and Potluck at Bat Yam Temple of the Islands!
On April 12, 2018 the long-awaited launching of Who Created God? will coincide with the Congregational UCC Potluck Dinner. The event will take place at 5:30 PM at the Fellowship Hall at the Sanibel UCC, located at 2050 Periwinkle Lane, Sanibel, FL. The Reverend Dr. John Tanner will preside over the festivities. Please call(239) 395-0726 to make your reservations.
Ms. Shuman explains, “I thought “Why Triple Chai?” would be the final compilation, but Rabbi Fuchs continues to create more and more essays that I feel are of great interest not only to Jews, but to readers everywhere.”
In addition to pondering the creation of God, areas of particular interest include how the country of Israel has evolved since it became the Jewish homeland in 1948. The rabbi also discusses the intricacies and symbolism of the Jewish wedding ceremony, dealing with terrorism, and his reaction to encountering a swastika in an unlikely setting.
"God is a central focus and central force in my life, which is why so many of the essays in this book relate to the idea of God." ~ Rabbi Stephen Lewis Fuchs Who Created God? And Other Essays is now available for purchase through Amazon.com and the Bibnar Store.
Seder at Bat Yam Temple of the Islands 5778
Vickie Fuchs as The Purim Witch
Rabbi Stephen Fuchs as Hatach
It's Purim at Bat Yam!
Purim is a time to ponder important contemporary lessons during a fun-filled and entertaining service. Our Purim celebration at Shabbat Eve services, 7:30, March 2 will be very special! We will celebrate the triumph of our people over forces that would have destroyed us as recounted in the biblical Book of Esther. The service will revolve around a dramatic retelling of the biblical story augmented by familiar songs with special Purim lyrics.
All are encouraged to carefully read the Book of Esther so that they can win prizes by correctly answering the questions Rabbi Fuchs will ask during the service. All of the answers to the questions are found in the Book of Esther. One of Purim’s most time-honored traditions is to shake Groggers (noisemakers) to drown out the name of the villain, Haman, whenever he is mentioned in the story. Participants can make effective Groggers by putting coins into a small cardboard, metal, or Tupperware-type box. After the service, the coins can be donated to our Tzedakah Fund.
Giving Tzedakah (shalach manot in Hebrew) for those less fortunate than we is a venerable Purim tradition. We look forward to seeing you there!
The Story of Purim 5778
True to the Text of
The Book of Esther but...
As it has NEVER been told before!
Starring (in order of appearance)
Rabbi Stephen Fuchs
Cantor Pamela Siskin
Vashti Slow Rap Song
Mordecai Saves the King
Will I Still Be Here Tomorrow
'BAT YAM MATTERS'
A Jewish congregation serving residents and guests of Sanibel, Captiva, Fort Myers, and surrounding communities providing a place of worship in the Reform tradition and creating an extended Jewish family Number 92 February 2018 Sh’vat/Adar, 5778
BAT YAM AND SCUCC ANNUAL PULPIT EXCHANGE FIRST WEEKEND IN FEBRUARY
During the Shabbat service of February 2nd, Reverend Dr. John Danner, Senior Pastor of Bat Yam’s host church will be the guest speaker. His sermon title is “Set Apart – But For What?” Based on Exodus 19:1-6, Reverend Danner will explore what it means for Jews and Christians to understand themselves to be a “priestly people” and how American exceptionalism may or may not reflect those understandings. On Sunday, February 4th, Rabbi Stephen Fuchs will speak at both the 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. services of the SCUCC. His sermon topic will be "The Psalms’ (In My Opinion)."
FEBRUARY 2018 BAT YAM SHABBAT MORNING CLASSES
The Shabbat morning classes begin with a half hour of Hebrew reading instruction taught by Rabbi Fuchs. They continue with Rabbi Fuchs’ presentations according to the topic “Beginning with Creation in Genesis and Getting As Far As We Get as the Year Unfolds”. Bat Yam congregants present the second session.
Irene Skolnick is overseeing the February congregant sessions focusing on the topic of Jews in America, beginning with the Revolutionary War period and moving forward to such topics as Jews in the Civil Rights movement.
Rabbi Fuchs Reflects
The Adult Issues of Purim
Purim is a time for Groggers, costumes, noise and merriment. With all the frivolity and fun that we shall hopefully experience on Shabbat Eve, March 2, it is easy to dismiss Purim as merely a fun holiday for the young and the young at heart, but Purim is much more.
The Purim story in the Book of Esther confronts the mature reader with vital issues about sexual abuse, the phenomenon of prejudice, and human destiny.
Vashti Too seldom do we ponder the courage of Vashti, King Ahasuerus' first wife. The world's most powerful man commands her to display her beauty for his drunken friends, but she refuses. She is a worthy role model for our daughters. Vashti refused to simply be a sex object even if that refusal cost her throne. Hopefully all of us can learn from her courage.
Prejudice A vital lesson about prejudice presents itself when Mordecai refuses to bow down before Haman. Haman is angry, but as the Bible records: "...it was not enough for him to punish Mordecai alone, for they had told him the people of Mordecai" (Esther 3:5). No, because of his anger at one man, Haman sought to destroy all the Jews.” Sadly, the prejudice presented against us in the book of Esther has confronted our people many times throughout history. Many other groups experience it today. The Purim story provides a vivid example of this phenomenon that we can profitably discuss with young people.
Destiny When Mordecai read Haman's decree condemning the Jews of Persia to death, he sent a message to Esther to intercede for her people. Esther's response was that she dared not enter the presence of the king because he had not summoned her, and the penalty is death for anyone who appears unbidden before the king unless he holds out his scepter as a sign of acceptance. Mordecai, through the servant Hatach, asks Esther a question we should all frequently ask ourselves: "Who knows if you have not become queen for just such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14) In other words, who knows if we are where we are at any given moment just for the opportunity the moment offers us to make a difference. Mordecai's really asks us all: Are we on this earth just to enjoy life? Is our own pleasure the primary purpose of our existence? Jewish tradition and the Book of Esther says, "No."
Esther could have lived out her life in selfish luxury. But Mordecai's question pricked her conscience enough so that she risked everything to save our people.
Mordecai's question addresses us as well.
In our lives, all of us, like Esther, have moments when our action or inaction, our willingness or unwillingness to take a risk can make a vital difference in someone's life. We can seize these moments or turn away from them. Esther swallowed her fear and seized her moment. Her example and her courage commend themselves to all of us when opportunities come for us to step up and make a difference.
So, as Purim approaches I hope we prepare for more than a good time. If we study the Book of Esther carefully, the lessons we learn about sexual harassment, the phenomenon of prejudice and our destiny as human beings can enrich our Jewish souls long after the celebration is over.
Annual Meeting and Pot Luck Dinner
Bat Yam’s annual meeting and installation of officers and the Board of Directors will be held Thursday, March 15th. Dinner will begin at 6:00pm, followed by the meeting. We are planning to have a Pot Luck Dinner and hope many of you will volunteer to prepare a favorite dish. You may bring an appetizer, salad, entrée, vegetable or dessert. Please make enough for ten to twelve and include a note card with your name and the name of your dish. In lieu of food contributions, donations to cover expenses are welcome. Please plan to arrive at 5:30pm with your food dish so that we can have everything set up and ready by start time.
Contact one of us with any questions and to let us know what you are bringing, or you may sign up at services using the sign-up sheet at the welcome table. Thank you for your help; we look forward to seeing you there.
JANUARY SHABBAT INSTALLATION SERVICE FORMALLY WELCOMES RABBI FUCHS AND CANTOR SIMON
During the Shabbat evening service of Friday, January 5th, guest Rabbi Paul J. Citrin formally installed Rabbi Stephen Fuchs and Cantor Murray Simon as rabbi and cantor of Bat Yam. This very special evening hosted by Bat Yam president Alan Lessack included remarks welcoming Rabbi Fuchs and Cantor Simon into the Sanibel community by Sanibel City Manager Judith A. Zimomra. Other speakers were Ms. Jeanne Tobin, presently a resident of Cleveland, OH who was president of Temple Isaiah in Columbia, MD where Rabbi Fuchs served in the mid-1980s and The Reverend Doctor John H. Danner, Senior Pastor of Bat Yam’s host church, SCUCC.
As a formal response to his installation, Cantor Simon sang the world premiere of a musical composition he wrote in honor of Rabbi Fuchs titled “La-asok B’divreiTorah,” in which he set to music the prayer that precedes study of Torah, “Praised Art Thou, Adonai Our God, Sovereign of the Universe, Who Instills in us the holiness of Mitzvot By commanding us to study the words of Torah.” Rabbi Paul Citrin delivered formal remarks on the topic “The Keys to A Flourishing Congregation.” A native of Los Angeles, Rabbi Citrin was ordained by the Hebrew Union College in 1973. He currently serves as the rabbi of the Taos, NM Jewish Center and teaches classes at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Albuquerque and at other locations.
Rabbi Stephen Fuchs Installation Ceremony at Bat Yam Temple of the Islands. With Rabbi Paul J. Citrin and Cantor Murray Simon.
Repeatedly in the Bible, it is the woman who 'gets it' and the man who is clueless. Eve has been maligned for generations for the supposed fall of man, when in fact; she is the heroine of the elevation of humanity. ~